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4.5 out of 5 stars56
4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 13 December 2002
It's difficult to do Christiane F justice in words, I could write pages and pages and I still wouldn't have got my point across. It is the most frightening, realistic, seedy, dark, dank and potent film I have ever seen. Edel and his fine young cast draw us into a world where even withdrawal is no way out, and the addicts, whilst being experienced junkies, clearly do not understand their situation - "we'll only smoke grass now and again." As the film progresses, the earlier "heroin chic" and constant referencing of David Bowie disappears, leaving only a world where there is no way out, just an ever-tightening circle of lies, false promises and bleakness. Look, just watch it, ok?
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on 12 February 2006
An excellent film about the descent into drug addiction of a 14 year old girl living on a Berlin housing estate - from a beautiful girl to a drug-crazed zombie lookalike.
It all rings horribly true and the characters are all extremely likeable, which makes the story all the more horrific. The acting, the photography, the scripting, and the direction are all first class. Definitely 5 stars.
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on 15 June 2009
If you've never been addicted to anything then it is incredibly hard to understand how it starts and drives you to complete desperation. Watch CF and you will understand - the self-deception comes across superbly, the trigger of old friends, places pushing C back to heroin use. The film was shot without permission in several laces with an amateur cast - Natja Brunckhorst (CF) comes across as a teenager who just falls into a dark adult world almost out of curiosity - 13 going on 25.
The atmosphere of W Berlin in the 70s also comes across - the sense of isolation, the dismal post-war housing, the student anger.
But don't watch the film if you are feeling down or depressed! Even the final message that CF is "clean" leaves you thinking "I don't believe it" - she is so damaged she will never have a normal or happy life (in 2008 she has just been busted again and had her son taken into care).
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on 1 August 2003
I still consider that the viewing of this film at the cinema some twenty years ago was the main reason I stayed on the straight and narrow.
Although slightly dated now, the message remains powerfully the same
EVERY school kid should me made to watch this film at about the age of 15 (The 18 rating is also dated - this needs reclassifying)
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on 7 May 2007
This is a brilliant but nightmarish film.Based on a sequence of articles by two German journalists,later made into a book,it shows the decline of a teenage girl as she enters the drug subculture of West Berlin in the 1970s.The actors are mainly amateurs,but they come up with impressive performances.

The soundtrack by David Bowie(who lived in Berlin in the late 1970s)is great,with the jolly,optimistic sound of "Heroes" at the start,then,as the film goes on,being replaced by the eerie electronic sounds of the "Low" and "Heroes" albums.His own cameo performing a fine rendition of "Station to Station"is worth a watch too.

If you have teenage children,it will be your worst nightmare come true,but you may find they enjoy it too(my 17 year old neice thought it was great).
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on 28 June 2013
Sometimes you come across a film, yet you are young and immature to understand the true meaning of the film. I initially watched this film in my teens and in all honesty I did not think too much of it at the time!! Now that I am a parent of a young child, I decided to watch it again and this time the true significance of this film sank in.

Life can sometimes feel like a series of lucky or in the case of Christiane a series of unlucky circumstances. The film centres on Christiane, played brilliantly by Natja Brunkhorst who lives with her mother in 70's Berlin. Her life is filled with loneliness and boredom... to fit in with the it crowd she starts to experiment with soft drugs, which then escalates to more dangerous substances.

Highly recommended to parents, especially in today's fast paced environment that we live in, where parents and children spend less time communicating and where children (and adults) spend more and more time in the virtual world, then communicating face-to-face.

This film has highlighted to me the importance of nurturing a trusting relationship with my daughter and that listening is a vital skill for the 21st century.
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on 13 March 2009
Forget the "willing suspension of disbelief" - you won't need it. Christiane F. is so believable I found myself wondering if the actors actually shot up heroin while filming the movie. Absolutely the most authentic and gut-wrenching story I have ever experienced.
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#1 HALL OF FAMEon 9 October 2002
This film was reissued in 2000 , as with films like Salo, Straw Dogs & The Texas Chainsaw Massacre it had taken on a mythic quality- having largely been unavailable on video and dealing with controversial subjects.
Ulrich Edel (Last Exit to Brooklyn) based this film on a 'true story'- which with the sensational scribe on the back of the cover makes you expect a work of exploitation. This film couldn't be farther away from...
For example, the love scene is shot in a way that the 14 year old subject is not fetishised and the whipping scene comes across as a vile reversal of power, in tandem with a body becoming currency to feed addiction.
Christiane F details the discovery of what Celine called 'the other side of life'; her subsequent fall into addiction and prostitution are the results of that discovery and freedom.
Edel captures 70's Berlin with wonderful visuals, such as the scene on top of the Mercedes building (this is aided by music from Bowie's Berlin Trilogy: Low, "Heroes" & Lodger & the albums Stage and Station to Station). These songs suit the shopping centres, then the epitomy of futurism and the scene to the single version of "Heroes" feels like something between the shopping centre scene in Romper Stomper and the world of JG Ballard (Crash, High Rise). Edel uses Bowie's music as wonderfully as Pennebaker did with Ziggy Stardust, Schrader with Cat People, David Fincher with Se7en and David Lynch did with Lost Highway.
The Sound club soundtracks the hedonistic lifestyle with plenty of Bowie classics- TVC15, Look Back in Anger & Boys Keep Swinging. There is also a great sequence of Bowie in concert playing the Stage-version of Station to Station; Bowie looks great- as great as he did when he did "Heroes" on Top of The Pops in 1978. It's great when he sings to a pill-popping Christiane the coda "It's too late!"- a soundtrack to self-destruction/always crashing in the same car...
Christiane F does not feel as nihilistic as subsequent films in this region- perhaps this is due to the redemptive coda (recalling the recent Crazy/Beautiful, which edited out drug and sexual references); this feels more like Drugstore Cowboy or Jesus' Son than darker films like Kids and Requiem for a Dream. I think Christiane F is a well handled melodrama, Larkin's famous line regarding parents seems pertinent; we don't get simplistic good/evil dichotimies regarding drugs and sex. Which is why people just say "Yes!". Edel handles the fact that Christiane comes from a broken home with balance, there are many excellent scenes that utilise documentary resonance and silence to get across the point (rather than OTT acting , aka mugging for an award.)For me the most telling shot is of the prostitutes lined up at Zoo Station to Bowie/Eno's Warszawa: this gets across the manner in which the beautiful young have been reduced to a mere economic transaction as a result of addiction.
Christiane F is a brilliant film, one that I think teens (and their parents) ought to see- despite the ridiculous 18 certificate (ironic that the realism of Black Hawk Down and Saving Private Ryan gets a 15 certificate). It is much better than recent films such as Crazy/Beautiful and Lovely Rita. A key film of the last twenty-five years then...
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on 28 October 2004
I first saw the film in its original version in Germany and when I bought the video at home in the UK I was horrified at the hideous and clumsy Americanised dubbing.
I really felt that it detracted from the ability of this film to portray the reality and the meaning of physical addiction, let alone the brilliant performances of the young German actors involved.
I am not sure if any of the dialogue has been tidied up for the re-issue, personally, I would like to hope so - but despite this Christiane F remains a must-see for all teenagers and their parents/carers.
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on 17 August 2015
A good lesson in the film for me. Even though i do not take narcotics. For me being a fan of Bowies music. People have to realise that they do not have to take narcotics to get high and you can get a high of sorts from other sources that are less dangerous. In this case for me it was the Bowie music. There are always other ways to enjoy, and to get that fix, high and music is one of them. I myself find David's music very addictive in itself. And therefore the film may as well of been about being addicted to the music that you hear in the film, rather than any Narcotics. It may of even been saying this anyway. You can get films with double meanings. Where what the subject matter of the film was was not what the film was trying to really say. I love David Bowie's music so much and find it addictive and therefore it may as well as been a public warning about how addictive the music is once you get into it. Regards Nicholas Blundell
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